Warning as four children hospitalised in Galway with hand, foot, and mouth
Most mums are familiar with hand-foot-and-mouth disease - probably because little ones pick up pretty easily in creches and schools.
It's usually a mild viral infection, albeit highly contagious.
However, there is alarm among parents because of a particularly aggressive outbreak in Galway - where no fewer than four children have now been hospitalised.
The news was reported this week by the Connacht Tribune.
The infection results in painful sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet. It furthermore makes the infected person feel achy and unwell, while symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, sore throat, and small red spots in the mouth, throat and skin which can become raised and may blister.
The virus is spread by coughs or sneezes. The condition is particularly common in children under ten.
As it is a virus, treatment is usually not needed - but symptoms can often take up to ten days to pass. Should your symptoms not pass in that time, patients should be taken to a doctor. In extremely rare cases, either viral meningitis or encephalitis can be contracted due to complications.
Children affected should drink plenty of fluids and can take children’s paracetamol to both relieve pain and bring down a temperature. Due to its contagious nature, those infected should be kept at home until the virus passes.
Thoroughly washing hands, covering your nose and mouth upon sneezing or coughing and avoiding sharing cups, glasses, towels or cutlery reduces the chance of the infection spreading while the virus is live.